Sunday, September 28, 2008

All that is Oktoberfest...

Well, a fair amount of rubber has been burnt off my tires since my last blog, with more in the coming week as my driving around Kansas, to recap: Wichita to Hays to Manhattan to Wichita the past 3 days; but oh so totally worth it! My first trip to Hays (with the exception of stopping at Wagreens one time on the way to Colorado) was a great to see some friends, tour the town, attend my first Oktoberfest, had my first bierock (even though it was cheeseburger flavored; they were out of the traditional), got an amazingly awkward sunburn with a white line where my necklace was, and even enjoyed the Greys premiere!
Me and one of my best friends since high school, Miss Lacey....enjoying our first Oktoberfest! Me, a bit more than her, as she is preggo with baby boy Hunter who will join the world in February!! :) Can't wait to meet him!
Oktoberfest in all it's glory....

I think the whole town was in attendance...

Saturday morning found me headed east to Manhattan to cheer on the Cats (who need all the cheering they can get it seems). We tailgated with some grilling, my favorite jalepeno chips and mom's brownies. Yum! Thankfully, mom packed SPF 800, so I didn't add to my sunburn from Friday, but it was HOT HOT HOT!!! Hard to believe it's almost October and it was nearly 90 degrees. For my fellow K-Staters, how crazy is this- parking in the grass and vet met is up to $15! Nuts! So, I chose to park at the fraternity down on Denison for a steal of $5 and walked a bit through the newly rebuilt Jardine apartments for students. I couldn't resist snapping a picture for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of seeing what they have done since tearing down the old ratty apartments. It's so nice and peaceful, including a fountain with flowers in the middle of it...see the pic below...very nice.
Pretty fancy, huh?

So, the madness of my driving season (I might become a long-haul trucker if speech therapy goes south) will pick up again Tuesday as I head to the Carrie Underwood concert in Topeka with my mama (it is kind of her to go, as I'm not sure she can sing the words to any of her songs) and then will be in KC later this week for a SLP conference and am SO excited to see my friends up there, before heading to the KSU game next weekend....whew! I get tired just thinking about the hecticness and all the fun that awaits me this week....I need to get to bed so I will be fully rested for all the action ahead!! Hope all of you had a great weekend as well! :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hays or a little cooking club....

I am VERY excited for tomorrow....since I worked last weekend, I am off Friday; so after work tomorrow I am headed to Hays, Kansas to visit friends Nichole (friend since KSU) and Lacey (friend from high school) and Lacey's hubby Chad. Also very exciting is that tomorrow is "The Office" and "Grey's Anatomy" premieres. Hip hip hooray!! I will be DVRing The Office, but am so pumped as they are two of my favorite shows! So after work today, in honor of seeing my friends that I haven't seen in too long, and due to the much anticipated "Grey's" premiere, I made my first apple pie to take on the road! It was my first attempt with making an apple pie, so we'll see how it is; it's Betty Crocker's recipe, so you would think she wouldn't lead you wrong!

My first apple pie; doesn't look too bad....I'll let you know how it turns out!

After the pie finished cooking, I rushed out the door to my friend Kara's for an evening of cooking with friends. Tonight's dinner was great! I had my first experience making/eating gnocchi; we made "Spinach and Potato Gnocchi", with bruschetta, spinach salad and a HEAVENLY molten chocolate cake!!! So good! Enjoy the pics below as I head to bed to get rested up for a busy weekend! Friday we are going to Oktoberfest (my first) in Hays and then I'm going to the KSU game Saturday....fingers crossed for a win! :)

Ginny and Becca rolling the gnocchi balls

The gnocchi balls cooking!

Our sauce to pour over the gnocchi...

My gnocchi and bruschetta...very tasty!

The molten chocolate lava cake with ice cream- the picture does NOT do this justice!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

What a difference a year makes...

So....I am fairly confident that today is the first wedding anniversary of my good friends Gena and Alex. Congrats to them! With that in mind; I have been contemplating how much has changed in my life since a year ago...Right before Gena and Alex's wedding last year, I had lots of big changes in my life. I have now had TWO different jobs (thank goodness for the second!), live in a different city, have my first own apartment, have a different car, minus a boyfriend, plus an array of entertaining dates with the wrong guys that my mom refers to as "frogs", a different hair color and a bunch of great new friends that I have met in Wichita! I look forward to seeing what the next year brings for my life...

With all the changes in my life, there are some things that are staples. Everyone has their vices. Some people need their coffee. Some people love cocaine. I am a Diet Coke junkie with a love of and The Bobby Bones Show (an awesome morning radio show out of Austin, TX). No matter what else is going on in my life or a crazy day at work, I will guarantee these delights will somehow be a part of my day.

So, if you haven't listened to Bobby Bones (96.3), my I highly recommend starting your mornings with their hilarious talks, while you are catching your lately Hollywood scoop on and sipping a Diet Coke. :) More to follow with other "passions" in my life. When I find something that I like, I tend to go full force in supporting it, so these are a few of the little loves in my life that I wanted to share. Sometime I will have to tell you about the Chicken and Cream Cheese enchiladas at Mi Ranchito in KC!! They will change your world!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Welcoming fall, a belated gift and a new hair color...

Today is a BEAUTIFUL day!!! I had to work this morning, but it was only from 8-12 and then met my friend Lindsay at a park for a great walk....we enjoyed the awesome weather and got to catch up. We discussed our upcoming trip to Texas to visit my sis and Linds' boyfriend while we go to the K-State vs. Texas AM game- very exciting! Hopefully they start playing better....

Well, since it's such a pretty day, I decided to come home and decorate for fall a little by getting out my Halloween candles and fall centerpiece for the table. I need to get some mums and a pumpkin sometime too to complete the autumn atmosphere...

I have also made my first embroidary purchase from my boss who also does personalized embroidary. I had her customize a couple burp clothes for my friend Aimee's baby Sawyer (see pics below). They are very reasonably priced and she can do anytime (shirts, blankets, etc.)...let me know if you're interested. Aimee and I went to KSU together and had speech therapy classes together. She and her husband Cameron had one son Tucker before welcoming their newest addition in July. Congrats to them!

Also, I got my hair colored the other day (see below)....was sick of the blonde since it grows out so fast; the verdict is still out for me (I know you won't like it Mom). I was going for close to my natural brown, and it's a little darker than I was going for but my stylist says it will fade...time will tell. Additionally, still sporting the glasses (obviously)....I went to the eye doc the other day and I am doomed to them for another month. My vision has returned to 20/20, but my eyes are still dry. Sad! :( Yes, I know, very exciting new in my life. This my not be the deepest blog, but that is what's new in my world! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!

Jenna and me at her hubby's birthday party...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's been quite a week...

It's been a busy but good week. Fall is officially here, noticably cooler weather and LOTS of rain here; some pictures from yesterday north of Wichita that shows some of the aftermath...thanks Ike! This week consisted of our monthly bunko night on Tuesday, dinner with a couple friends from college on Wednesday, a going-away dinner for one of my favorite co-workers on Thursday at Margaritas (so good!), and I had my fellow speech therapists over for dinner on Friday. Needless to say, it's been nice this weekend to catch up on some rest and relaxation....hopefully my next blog will be more exciting!
Me and Kara at her going away dinner...we will miss her! :(

Flooding north of Wichita

Glad I'm not these people....

Not an ocean people, but a field...

Another view of the flooded mess!

Monday, September 8, 2008


This weekend flew by with a little bit of work at my parents' house and some fun at the K-State game. My parents, sis and I have season tickets to the K-State football games and while we missed the season opener last weekend; Meg, Dad and I (mom stayed home to work on the house) went to cheer on the Cats against Montana State (not a powerhouse). My parents used to take us to games when we were pretty dad is a KSU grad, so it's been instilled in us from a young age to cheer for K-State! We didn't go much as Meg and I became involved in sports in grade school and many of our weekends growing up were spent on either a court or field. However, since I started college in the fall of 2000, I have had season tickets and it has become something that I look forward to doing with family and friends.

Anyway, Saturday we grabbed some Goodcents (no time for fancy tailgaiting this time), pulled into Manhattan and started to see all of the familiar sites of a gameday and got to the stadium about an hour before the game. So exciting!! We ate our sandwiches and off into the stadium we went. My dad got the smart points for the day as he thought to pack ponchos! It started sprinkling on us soon after the game started. Yea Bob!! Here are a few pics from the game...Meg left after the first to go to a bachelorette party and Bob and I toughed it out until halfway through the second quarter...we were up 45-7 so we thought it was safe to go since we were getting rained on. The final was 69-10...I look forward to going to games this season; hopefully they all have a similar score in the favor of the Wildcats!! :)

Meg and me in our seats...

My dad fleeing to the car in his poncho! Meg and I's view (pre-rain)...

The start of the 2nd quarter..The start of the rain; view from my parents seats.

Friday, September 5, 2008

How is it Friday already? Not that I'm complaining!!

As I wait for my sister to get to Wichita (third weekend in a row of Meg time!) and we leave for Topeka and tomorrow to Manhattan, I will put up some pics from this week. It literally has flown by; the days crept by at work as we haven't been too busy, but I don't know where the week has went!

What I do know is that I had a couple evenings of fun! Wednesday night, I hosted the second round of our little cooking club. Kara, Becca and Becca's friend from work Ginny came over and the cooking began! I picked out our recipes this time and found them in two Pampered Chef cookbooks that I had purchased last fall (and of course have never used!). Our entree was "Tex Mex Chicken & Rice Skillet"- which is essentially homemade Chipotle! All of my dreams come true!! As a Chipotle lover, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal! Our dessert was from another Pampered Chef cookbook called "Banana Cream Brownie Squares." While this was fairly simple, it was pretty good!

Below are pics and the recipes if you want to try for yourself!! We served the chicken dish with tortilla chips, sour cream and salsa. I am really getting to know some new people in Wichita that share a love for cooking...especially since Kara is not going to be working with me anymore after next week. It's nice to know I will still see her regularly even though not in our lovely green scrubs! I will miss her at work, but hope she loves the new adventure she is going to begin!

Becca stirring the rice as it cooks in chicken broth and salsa verde...

Ginny and Kara checking out recipes...

The finished tasty! The picture does not do this justice!!

Dessert is served....yum!

Tex-Mex Chicken & Rice Skillet:

1 tsp plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided 1 can Mexican-style corn

1 lb skinless chicken thighs 1 tbsp Southwestern Seasoning mix (taco seasoning)

2 cups uncooked instant white rice 2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups salsa verde 2 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

1. Add 1 tsp of the oil to skillet; heat over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Meanwhile, drain corn; pat dry with paper towels. Add corn to skillet in a single layer. Cook without stirring 5 minutes or until caramelized on one side. Remove corn from skillet and set aside.

2. As corn cooks, cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Combine chicken and seasoning mix in bowl. Add chicken to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

3. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to skillet. Add rice; stir until well coated with oil. Add broth and salsa; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover skillet; reduce heat to low. Simmer 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, snip cilantro.

4. To serve, spoon chicken over rice mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with cheese and corn. Cover, let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Banana Cream Brownie Squares:

3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped, divided 1 package (15-18 ounces) brownie mix

3 medium bananas, divided 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix

1 1/4 cups cold mix 1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed

12 strawberries Chocolate curls (optional)

1. Preheat over to 350'. Chop peants. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions; stir in 1/2 cup of the peanuts. Pour into a square pan. Bake according to package directions. Cool completely.

2. Slice two of the bananas, and place in a single layer over brownie. In a bowl, whisk pudding mix into mild; beat until mixture just begins to thicken. Gently fold in 2 1/2 cups of the whipped topping. Quickly spread pudding mixture over bananas. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup peanuts over pudding mixture. Cut dessert into squares and garnish with whipped topping.

4. Slice remaining banana. Garnish each square with banana slice, chocolate curls, if desired and a strawberry fan.

12 servings

*Both recipes are from Pampered Chef cookbooks. :)

The other great evening of my week was courtesy of Miss Lilah Mae. Lilah is the daughter of two good friends of mine- Kylie and Brady. I hung out with Lilah last night so her parents could go out for dinner/movie to celebrate their 4-year wedding anniversary. It does not seem possible that four years have passed since I stood up with them on their special day. Lots in life has changed, but they are two of the constants that I appreciate and it was a joy to spend some time with one of the cutest and most well-behaved kids so their parents could hit the town! Here are a couple photos of Lilah during her time with "Auntie Shell." Hope everyone has a great weekend and cheers to the good friends in our lives!

So, in my attempt to get Lilah to eat, I sang a song during dinner that I made up and it was too cute; she would dance went a little something like this: "We put our food in a pile, we put our food in a pile, we put our food in a pile and eat it up...yum, yum, yum." Whatever works!

Lilah mastering the use of a spoon....such a big girl!

Lilah clapping with the successful dropping of a ball into the toy. Yea!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A little bit of labor on Labor Day!

First of all, I cannot believe that the summer is has FLOWN BY!!! Now, while some might think it might be good to spend Labor Day weekend enjoying the last days of the pool, grilling outside or going to the K-State game, my family and I had other plans. Since my parents house is going on the market in a couple weeks, I was planning on going home to help complete some finishing touches. As a last minute plan unveiled, my sister Megan decided to hitch a ride with her friend who was headed from Dallas to Manhattan for the weekend....Meg got dropped off at my place Friday night and we surprised our parents with Meg's presence, which was joyously received!

So, the weekend consisted of painting, yardwork, hanging pictures & mirrors and moving furniture. Today, my entire body is sore. My sis and I compared the feeling of pain to basketball tryouts in high school....not pleasant. However, after our weekend of work, the house is coming together and I look forward to the day my parents are moved and settled into their new home! My favorite thing about Labor Day is that as I return to work tomorrow, there are only four days until the next weekend! Another upnote is that with the passing of this weekend, fall is right around the corner and it is my most favorite season!! More on that in future posts...

My happy stow-away for the trip: Meg

The beginning of the fun...

The before....

The completed project!

Meg, looking squirrely (what's new!) and doing some painting...good work sister!